ethics ordinance

Politics
2:39 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer Called to Testify in Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin's Removal Trial

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer
Credit File photo

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer is among a number of city officials being called to testify in the removal trial of Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin, D-2, which is scheduled to begin next week.

Earlier this year, the Metro Ethics Commission ruled unanimously that Shanklin violated various ethics rules, including funding an ex-offenders upholstery program benefiting her friends and family.

The panel recommended the councilwoman’s ouster from office, and a Charging Committee of five council members filed a petition to begin removal proceedings.

Before the ethics complaints were filed the Fischer administration shut down that upholstery program in Shanklin's district, citing concerns about the lack  former inmates participating

Shanklin is being represented by attorney Aubrey Williams, who refused to comment for this story on why Fischer is being asked to testify before the Metro Council Court.

But in court documents provided to the council clerk, Williams says the mayor is expected to testify about "various matters relating to any laws, policies and procedures" that caused Fischer to halt the program.

Attorney David Tachau is the prosecutor in the removal trial. He says it’s unclear why Shanklin wants the mayor to be called as a witness other than an attempt to throw irrelevant issues into the case.

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Politics
2:27 pm
Wed May 22, 2013

Ethics Watchdog Group Requests Councilman Dan Johnson Step Down from Shanklin Removal Trial

Councilman Dan Johnson, D-21

The chairman of an ethics watchdog group is questioning whether Louisville Metro Councilman Dan Johnson, D-21, should serve as a juror on fellow council member Barbara Shanklin’s removal trial.

The 20-member council court convened earlier this week to schedule a hearing after the Ethics Commission ruled Shanklin violated five provisions of the city’s code of ethics.

City lawmakers will sit as a jury to decide whether to oust Shanklin in a trial beginning July 23.

Last September, however, Shanklin’s attorney Aubrey Williams entered an affidavit alleging Johnson told him the commission was prejudiced against his client, and mishandled the proceedings.

"Johnson called ... and informed me that his wife’s sister’s husband was a friend of a certain Commission   member, who had told the friend that the commissioners were out to get Barbara Shanklin," Williams wrote. "That is to say that they had made up their minds to rule against her. He stated that he did not think they were going to be fair to her when the hearing got underway."

Common Cause of Kentucky Chairman Richard Beliles filed the initial ethics complaint against Shanklin. He  says Johnson’s prior interference in the case raises concerns if the south Louisville Democrat can adequately serve on the jury.

"It’s really important that the public has confidence in whatever jury. So from that standpoint, reading about and hearing about the questions about Metro Councilman Dan Johnson, it would seem to me that perhaps he should consider recusing himself from that jury," he says.

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Politics
6:46 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin Faces Removal Trial

Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin
Credit Louisville Metro Council

Five members of the Louisville Metro Council are seeking to remove Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin, D-2, from office over ethics violations.

Earlier this month, the Metro Ethics Commission ruled that Shanklin violated five provisions of the city's ethics code and recommended her ouster.

The Charging Committee is made up of Democrats Tina Ward-Pugh, Vicki Aubrey Welch and Madonna Flood; and Republicans Jerry Miller and James Peden.

Attorney David Tachau will represent the committee and prosecute the case.

He says because the Council Court will have subpoena powers the removal trial will reveal a number of facts and testimonies the ethics hearings could not uncover.

"I do know that Councilwoman Shanklin essentially did not testify and obviously this committee is interested in letting her have her say and address the issues that have been raised by the Ethics Commission and that are in the charging complaint. There are other family members this committee may choose to request a subpoena for," he says.

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Politics
4:31 pm
Tue August 28, 2012

Ethics Commission Names Judge, Prosecutor in Shanklin Case

Louisville Metro Council

The Louisville Metro Ethics Commission has tapped two local attorneys to serve as the judge and prosecutor in the hearing against Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin, D-2.

Former Assistant Kentucky Attorney General Ann Sheadel will serve as the hearing officer and preside over the proceedings as a judge.

In a surprise move, the commission has re-hired Louisville attorney James Earhart as the investigative officer who will prosecute the case. Last year, Earhart led the proceedings against former Councilwoman Judy Green that ultimately resulted in her removal from office.

Deborah Kent is legal counsel for the ethics commission. She says the board chose Earhart due in part to his experience in the Green case.

"My understanding is the commission was very pleased with his work last year. But secondly, that his experience in understanding the issues and the mechanics of Metro Government will be invaluable. He won’t have the learning curve this time around," she says.

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Politics
8:01 pm
Wed August 22, 2012

Ethics Commission Votes to Hold Hearing in Shanklin Case

Embattled Louisville Metro Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin, D-2, will face an ethics hearing.

The city Ethics Commission voted unanimously on Wednesday to hold a trial-like proceeding on October 25 in response to a complaint filed by a state watchdog group.

It took the panel over an hour in private session to rule that it will hold a hearing to determine if the city lawmaker violated six separate provisions of the city’s code of ethics. Common Cause of Kentucky filed charges last month claiming that Shanklin used her office to benefit herself and her relatives.

Attorney Aubrey Williams is representing Shanklin in the case and objected to the commission deliberating in secret. He says the ethics panel has failed to properly explain its procedures, and is denying his client due process.

"In a court of justice—unless this is something other than that—when one party makes allegations, the court of justice allows the parties to debate and argue those questions," he says. "Why it is that the commission cannot allow argument and make rulings openly on those motions without going into executive session makes no sense."

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Politics
8:00 am
Sun June 24, 2012

City Grants Paid Shanklin's Relatives

Family members of Louisville Metro Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin, D-2, have received over $3,000 in taxpayer money from a city grant that the lawmaker has personally signed checks for since 2005.

For the past seven years, the Petersburg/Newburg Improvement Association has received $150,000 in city funding, of which Shanklin and several relatives belong to.

From The Courier-Journal:

Among those who benefited were the mother of Shanklin’s grandson, who received $1,700; her son-in-law, $1,325; and Walker, who got $650 for repairing the floor in a small house the city donated to the neighborhood group.

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Politics
10:52 am
Sun June 10, 2012

Jobs Program Gives Shanklin More Ethics Troubles, Questions

Louisville Metro Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin, D-2, is embroiled in another controversy that could result in ethics charges.

The Courier-Journal has reported that Shanklin administered a jobs program meant for ex-offenders since 2007, which has apparently only served her and the councilwoman's relatives. The upholstery-training program was funded by the council for nearly $30,000, but was halted by Mayor Greg Fischer's administration after questions were raised about the lack of referrals.

The newspaper learned that few offenders participated, but Shanklin and her family members took advantage of the program's benefits despite the councilwoman's earlier denials.

From the Courier-Journal:

The program was bankrolled from the metro government’s general fund, with money routed through Metro Corrections. It was halted after corrections Director Mark Bolton expressed concern about the program to the city’s chief financial officer, Steve Rowland.

Bolton said in a Courier-Journal interview that his department was never asked to refer ex-offenders to the program, which he described as “goofy” in an email to a corrections staff member just before it was halted.

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